The Jiale Zhang Case

"How should the case be handled?"



The case involving the young lady Jiale Zhang has gotten a lot of media attention. This is because some senators came out with statements on how the case should be handled. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Palace also issued statements on the issue which is unusual considering that the case is minor if it involved any other person or foreigner other than a Chinese.

Why all the importance? The only plausible reason that I can think of at the moment is the new status of the Chinese or China in our country. It is now clearly our President’s favored country. Our government appears to be trying its best not to do anything that might displease China. One senior official even went to the extent of reminding everyone not to forget the many Filipinos who currently live in China if anything happens to Jiale Zhang that might provoke China to retaliate.

There are many ways to handle this case. One is to do what Senators Richard Gordon and Ping Lacson suggested—Deport Zhang and stand up to China whatever the phrase “standing up to China” means. The other is do what Secretary Locsin tweeted: Not to make the case much bigger than what it is which makes me wonder why we are even discussing the issue at all and not just let the matter take its own course.

We should just simply proceed with what has to be done and at the moment. The Department of Justice has just filed a case of direct assault upon a person in authority. This will take precedence over any attempt to deport Zhang before the completion of the trial—that is, unless the government opts to deport her instead by simply withdrawing the charge and letting the Bureau of Immigration handle the matter.

Foreigners should respect the laws of the country they are visiting. That is expected of everyone. The no-liquid prohibition by the MRT could be annoying like when one boards an airplane for domestic or international travel. Airlines also prohibit a lot of items to be taken aboard airplanes which could be exasperating at times. But it is necessary for the safety of every passenger. It is therefore, a surprise to me what Zhang did considering where she is from. People in China are taught to be respectful to authority. One would not normally see an ordinary citizen doing what Zhang did to PO1 William Cristobal because of fear of arrest.

Now, even if Zhang is contrite, she is facing the real possibility of deportation or jail time and that would be a pity considering that she has been here for about six years and one would think that she has already adjusted to the local culture. Apparently, she has not. China as we know is not exactly a free country and although our country is not as rich, many Chinese would rather be here because when they are here, they can do whatever they want to do which unfortunately even includes illegal drug dealing.

I remember reading an old newspaper article about how Japanese tourists behaved in the early 1960s when Japan began its march to being a world economic behemoth. The article made mention of some Japanese tourists not behaving appropriately like slouching in hotel lobbies in their thongs. This of course cannot compare to what Zhang did to PO1 Cristobal but it does give us an idea on why some Chinese tourists behave the way they do. Some are rude but the general behavior is one of people totally aware of the new status of China which at the moment is that of an economic giant and an emerging superpower if not one already. Unfortunately, some of them show their pride in their country’s achievements in the wrong way.

When will Filipinos also feel proud of our country’s achievements? It is something that we can only dream about because what sort of a country are we that our government deliberately send our womenfolk to work as virtual indentured servants and be treated badly by much richer countries—albeit less cultured and educated. Until we stop doing this, it would be hard to stand up and behave with pride and confidence like the way people from progressive countries do. It is also one reason why some countries take us very lightly.

I can understand and sympathize with the way Senators Gordon and Lacson view the Zhang case. They want the government to stand up and show that we have pride and cannot simply be treated in a manner that is so humiliating in our own country. If this is the case, then the Zhang case has a lesson to teach. PO1 Cristobal has been commended by no less than PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde for behaving the way that he did in handling the situation but I hope that his actions were due to good and proper training and not because he was unsure of what to do because Zhang was a Chinese and a foreigner.

Maybe it is a good thing that he acted the way he did and the whole episode was recorded on video by a bystander and was uploaded on the internet. This should teach all of us to be careful with what we do in public because these can easily find their way into social media.

Topics: Jiale Zhang , Chinese , Filipino , William Cristobal , Richard Gordon , Ping Lacson
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